Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Apple Model

In a recent memo to Microsoft, Acer executives scolded that developing hardware was it difficult task. Acer is clearly upset, and it got me thinking why.
Unlike Microsoft, Apple has always made tightly integrated software and hardware for its entire history. If you want to run the OSX, you have to buy it on a Mac. You can't buy a third party machine. For a brief time, under CEO John Scully, Apple did open up MacOS to run on other manufacturers hardware, but this proved catastrophic for Apple and almost put them out of business. Steve Jobs came back, killed these so called clones and restored Apple's higher value proposition in making fully integrated systems.
For the most part, Microsoft's software runs on machines made by other manufacturers. Xbox is one exception, and is a very good seller for Microsoft. The Xbox is more in line with the Apple model.
So what would happen if Microsoft stopped releasing windows to third parties? What if new versions of Windows would only run on Microsoft machines? This would be a game changer for Microsoft and would threaten the entire industry of computer hardware manufacturers like mine. Does Acer see Microsoft moving in this direction?
Well, if Microsoft could pull it off, it would be a huge boon for Android, as hardware manufacturers scramble for a new operating system, but at the same time it might carry Microsoft to new heights.
Acer is right to be scared.

No comments: